Conservation Partnerships and Biodiversity Governance: Fulfilling Governance Functions through Interaction

I.J. Visseren-Hamakers, P. Leroy, P. Glasbergen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decades, new governance mechanisms such as partnerships have been increasingly accepted as instruments for sustainable development. This article contributes to an improved understanding of the contributions of partnerships, and their interactions with and consequences for intergovernmental regimes. It answers the question to what extent the roles of international intersectoral partnerships in biodiversity governance can be assessed using a positive, negative, or utilitarian qualification. To answer this question, the article develops and applies a methodology to analyze the governance functions that partnerships fulfill, and the institutional interaction (in terms of content, discourses, and rules) between the partnerships and intergovernmental regimes. Two case studies are analyzed: the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which works on biodiversity hotspots. Contrary to most partnerships, these conservation partnerships do not use the market as a steering mechanism for sustainable development, but focus on enhancing international policy processes. The article concludes that the partnerships reinvent biodiversity policy and politics, which is necessary to improve the effectiveness of the biodiversity governance system, and that they complement intergovernmental regimes, albeit with varying effectiveness. Recommendations are developed for governments to strategically enhance public–private interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-275
JournalSustainable Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • sustainable development
  • chain

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